We’ve received information from multiple sources that suggest that rumors of Apple’s forthcoming online music service will not be “Mac-only” as most rumors have described. Rather, information we’ve received suggests that Apple’s music service will be “iPod-only,” meaning that Windows iPod users will be able to use the rumored service. We stress that this information remains unconfirmed and should be categorized as “rumor,” as is the “music service” itself at this point.
Some information on the rumored service itself:
“…the (New York) Times reported that Apple would forsake the familiar MP3 format, which lacks the ability to embed DRM, in favor of a DRM- capable format called Advanced Audio Coding (AAC). Whatever the extent of Apple’s DRM, it must be firm enough to quell the record companies’ fear of piracy.”
“As part of the MPEG-4 standard approved last year, AAC is part of the latest version of Apple’s QuickTime software. According to information on Apple’s Web site, AAC provides higher-quality audio and better compression — meaning smaller files — than MP3.”
“If you already have QuickTime 6 installed, you can visit Apple’s AAC audio gallery Web page and judge the format’s quality for yourself.”
“The Times also reported the ability to transfer downloaded songs to “any iPod they’ve registered with Apple,” hinting that a software lock will prevent copying to friends’ iPods.”
“Current iPods cannot play AAC files, but an iPod software update should rectify this. Presumably, the service-enabled version of iTunes also will add support for the AAC format. To install the upgrade, iPod owners first will need to download the file to their Mac, then connect their iPod and run the “updater” application.”
“The choice of AAC also will make songs obtained from Apple’s service unplayable on most other portable music players, since most can play only MP3s or files encoded in Microsoft’s Windows Media Audio (WMA) format,” reports David Zeiler for The Baltimore Sun. Full article here.